Every weather or season has its peculiarities and effects. As much as we enjoy a lot of things about different temperatures, there are still some unpleasant things they hold.

The winter season, which occurs due to low rainfall, affects humans, animals, forests and the environment. The cool, crisp air and the dress-up are fun parts, but not without some side effects. Some of these effects include windburn.

This article shall discuss what windburn is, how it affects humans, its symptoms, preventive measures, and treatment of windburn after exposure. 

What is Windburn?

windburn explained

The skin is always protected by its outermost layer(epidermis). However, its fatty lipids can wear off in extremely cold or windy weather, exposing the skin to windburn. 

Windburn is a winter-related skin condition triggered by long-term exposure to the wind. When the skin comes in contact with solid wind for a long time, it gets stripped of its moisture and dehydrated. Alongside these, the skin vessels get dilated, which then causes red, painful inflammation. 

According to dermatologists, windburn mainly affects the central parts of the face, such as the nose and cheeks. 

Symptoms of Windburn

The symptoms of windburn are constantly visible on places such as cheeks, nose, face, lips, mouth area and other sites that are usually exposed to dry wind. 

Windburn on face

The symptoms of windburn in the face are pretty visible. Once the face gets exposed to wind for a long time, it causes redness and a burning sensation, making it tender to the touch. As the redness subsides, the facial skin may peel. 

Windburn on lip 

The lips are one of the most sensitive parts of the body that gets exposed. You can identify windburned lips with dryness, swelling, and redness. For a first-degree lip sunburn which is relatively mild, the lips tend to be a dry, cracked, burning sensation, accompanied by tiny blisters and bumps. However, a second-degree lip sunburn is more complex, with swelling, peeling, large blisters and intense pain alongside all first-degree symptoms. 

Windburn on the lips generally makes eating, smiling, and eating uncomfortable. 

Windburn on baby

A baby’s skin is soft and more susceptible to windburn than adults. The reason is that a baby’s skin cannot retain heat for an extended period. When a baby’s skin gets burned by the wind, the lips will be chapped, and the cheeks will redden. 

Windburn on hands

Often, the hands are exposed to harsh windy weather and, as a result, may suffer from sunburn. A sunburned hand becomes red and sore with a burning sensation. 

Causes of windburn

Windburn is a winter-related skin condition. It can be triggered by engaging in some activities during winter. These activities include:

  • Running outdoor
  • Jet skiing
  • Motorcycling
  • Biking/Cycling
  • Snowboarding
  • Any other activity that requires fast movement/staying out for long in winter. 

Windburn Vs Sunburn

Windburn and Sunburn are often mistaken for each other due to their similar symptoms. However, they are different. 

Windburn occurs after the wind strips the skin of its moisture and hydration. At the same time, sunburn occurs due to exposure to harmful UV rays. One happens in cold weather, while the second occurs in a hot environment. 

Also, windburn doesn’t last long like sunburn. Once the reddish affected parts start peeling, the healing process begins. However, sunburn effects last longer and are not easily treatable. 

The similarities, however, are in prevention and treatment. When going out in the elements that may trigger sunburn and windburn, the facial skin and other areas that would be exposed should be well moisturised. 

windburn effective treatments

How to treat Windburn effectively

Windburn can be prevented but not totally. As a result, you should be ready to combat the wind burns as they appear. 

There are different ways to treat windburn—these range from over-the-counter products to homemade solutions. The primary purpose is to replenish the skin and restore the lost moisture caused by windburn. 

These include;

  • Moisturisers

Windy weather strips the skin of its moisture to compromise soreness and inflammation. However, proper and religious use of heavy moisturisers can protect the skin barrier from windburns. According to a board-certified dermatologist, Dr Denny Engelman, “Consistent applying will keep your skin continually protected, keep moisture locked in, and provide a barrier for environmental aggressors.”

  • Hydrating ingredients 

Hydrating ingredients are essential when choosing what to use to combat wind burns on any body part. Hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acids can help heal windburned skin and also help protect the skin barrier against any future occurrences. 

  • Aloe Vera

The use of Aloe Vera or any product that contains Aloe Vera can help heal windburn skin. Aloe Vera is a natural soothing agent containing a gelatinous substance that helps reduce inflammation, itching, irritation or soreness. 

You can either get a cosmetic product that actively contains aloe vera or slather it raw on the face and leave it to dry before. This natural process is very effective if repeated as much as three times a day. 

  • Virgin coconut oil 

Virgin coconut oil is another natural ingredient with very rich antioxidants and antimicrobial properties that are effective for different skin conditions. 

Virgin coconut oil not only hydrates dry and wind-damaged skin, but it also helps moisturise and aid fast healing. 

Virgin coconut oil is not only safe to apply on the face and body, but it is also safe to apply on windburned lips and areas around the eyes. 

  • Oatmeal

Oat is another natural ingredient that has potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. As much as it may sound or look ridiculous, applying the oatmeal paste on wind-burned skin about 2-3 times a day can help soothe and heal the affected parts.

All you need to do is prepare the oatmeal as you will when you want to make it for breakfast. You should, however, avoid adding any other ingredients you would count on a typical day because its potency to treat windburn lies in its originality.

Lather a fantastic paste of oatmeal on the affected areas, and leave for about 15 minutes. While washing off, massage the oatmeal into your skin to absorb it.

  • Cucumber 

Cucumber, as a vegetable, contains antioxidants and analgesics essential for soothing and reducing irritation on windburn skin when applied religiously(usually about three or more times a day).

All you need to do is blend cucumber slices into a paste and apply generously on the affected areas for about 15 minutes. If done thoroughly, you would only realise why skincare gurus put cucumber slices around their eyes during skincare sessions. 

How to prevent windburn 

As the famous phrase “prevention is better than cure” goes, you can avoid getting windburns during winter by doing the following:

  • Moisturise 

The first step to avoiding dry skin and windburns is by providing the skin with adequate hydration the weather is stripping away from it. This can be easily achieved by applying moisturisers that provide extra hydration. 

Your best bet is to consult your dermatologist at the onset of winter, to add extra hydrating ingredients to your routine so that you can be good to go for the season. 

  • Take enough water

Water keeps the body hydrated from the inside. While applying moisturisers for the skin on the outside, you should also take enough water to keep the job flowing inside. 

According to the Federal Institute of Medicine, men should take 3.7 litres of water per day and 2.7 litres per women per day. Some percentage of it can be derived from vegetables and fruits. 

  • Wear lip balms 

You should get a lip balm moisturiser to prevent the lips from getting fried, treated up or cracked. The balm should be reapplied as often as you are outdoors during winter. Lip balms would not only prevent windburn but also make the lips soft.

  • Cloth layering

Winter is all about layering clothing for protection. You should wear clothes that cover well enough to protect your body from windburns. When going skiing, or any other outdoor activity that requires you to stay long outside, wear a nose mask or a zipped jacket that covers the mouth and some reasonable amount of the face. Sunglasses are also good options to protect the eyes. 

FAQs

Is wind burn permanent?

Unlike sunburn, windburn tends to subside and disappear within a few days. However, it always comes with some level of pain and discomfort.

How long does it take for windburn to heal?

Windburn gets better after a day or two of exposure if there’s no further exposure.

How do you treat windburn?

Windburn can be treated with over-the-counter creams and cosmetic products that hydrate elements. Homemade remedies that involve aloe vera, cucumber, virgin coconut oil and oatmeal are also effective. 

What does windburn feel like?

Windburn, like sunburn, has a burning sensation accompanied by dryness, inflammation, sensitivity to touch and peel. 

Is windburn worse than sunburn?

Windburn is mild compared to sunburn. Windburn takes a few days to heal with almost no treatment. However, sunburn, once had, takes a while to eliminate.

How do I fix windburn fast?

If the lever of a windburn reaches swelling and pains, it is advisable to conduct a doctor for advice on any pain relief to be used. 

Does aloe Vera help sunburn?

Aloe Vera has natural antioxidants that reduce inflammation, itching and soreness. Windburn? Aloe Vera to the rescue!

Final words

Windburn is a winter-related skin condition that can be prevented with some safety measures already addressed in this article and, of course, ways to deal with it if it happens. 

The most excellent advice is to visit your dermatologist at the beginning of the winter season and ask for skin-related advice to be on the safer side. 

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